Linda Dunn Dunnrite Transitions

Thinking About Rightsizing Your Life

By Linda Dunn

My mother grew up during the Great Depression. I understood her philosophy to save things. She would tell me (in Italian) to save things to use later. She saved stuff, and both of my grandmothers saved stuff. When they died, I was the one chosen to handle their estates, and that laid the groundwork for my business. When I learned about the senior-move-management industry, it stirred a passion in me, and I wanted to help people around my own age who were thinking about moving to a smaller place, and also help people with aging parents who needed help with the process of downsizing and relocating.

Free yourself from your stuff 

Relocation can be an overwhelming task for anyone. Seniors that are leaving the family home to move to a smaller home have a lifetime of memories (and a lot of stuff). I suggest that seniors start downsizing early and start small. I help with decision making about what fits best in the new residence. I like to refer to this process as rightsizing – transitioning to an appropriate or optimum size). A good thing to keep in mind is the 80/20 rule. Most people actually use only 20 percent of what they have. The other 80 percent is just taking up space. As a senior move manager, I start with a floor plan to make sure the furniture will fit.

Deciding what to do with all the stuff 

What should we do with all the stuff that doesn’t fit? I like to start with family. This is a wonderful time to pass down family heirlooms to children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, and friends. The family china and crystal or lovely silver serving tray would be a treasured gift when passed down to younger family members. Maybe there’s a certain someone who would really appreciate an antique clock, radio, or tools. Just think about the people who would be so happy to receive such a gift.

An estate sale to sell everything else could be a good option. Senior move managers have references for professionals who can come in and set up an estate sale. This is best done after everything else has been moved to the new residence. If there is not enough to hold an estate sale, an auctioneer can come to pick up everything else, and sell it at auction. Consignment sales are another option for certain items. Recently, I’ve researched online auctions, selling high-end fine art, antiques, jewelry and collectibles.

Charitable donations help everyone 

Donations to those in need is another great option. Donating clothing to a thrift shop could change someone’s life. That suit you no longer need might be bought by someone at the thrift shop, and could make the difference in a job interview. Food donations could feed the hungry, and clothing could keep a family warm during winter.

Of course, there comes a time for some things to just be discarded. If something is broken, just worn out, or has been kept around beyond its usefulness it should be discarded.

What about movers and real estate agents? 

Senior move managers can help with referrals for movers and real estate agents, and experienced professionals who can help “stage” your home for sale. Retirement communities, assisted living centers, and nursing homes are happy to have help from senior move managers. Senior move managers will pack, unpack, and get you settled into your new residence.

On moving day, the senior move manager is there to make sure everything is going smoothly. A long-distance move may call for help at each end, and senior move managers who are members of NASMM (the National Association of Senior Move Managers) can arrange for help at either end from trusted NASMM members. I was recently asked by a distant NASMM member to help measure furniture at a home in my area so that optional floor plans could be prepared for the new residence.

I helped with packing the things that would be moving to the new residence. I prepared a list of indexed boxes and contents to help with the unpacking. I worked with a local mover, and the timing was just right to meet the deadline. Fortunately, there was family support at the other end to get things settled in. Sometimes senior move managers even help to get things unpacked and settled in, with food in the refrigerator and beds made – making life much easier for people who may be exhausted at the end of moving day.

There are over 700 NASMM members, so if you or your family members need help with downsizing, rightsizing, or relocation of any kind, visit the NASMM web site to find a certified senior move manager near you.”


Linda DunnLinda Dunn is a native of Illinois, but now lives the country lifestyle near Knoxville, Tennessee. A talented chef, she grows a fantastic variety of vegetables in her garden. You can visit her web site at